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Martino: It's the tightest tie

Gerardo Martino says Barcelona's double-header with Manchester City is the hardest tie to call in the Champions League last 16.

Last Updated: 18/02/14 at 15:52 Post Comment   

Gerardo Martino: Barca boss accepts Man City are among world's best

Gerardo Martino: Barca boss accepts Man City are among world's best

And the Barca boss insists City are not a copy of his side, but one of the best teams in the world in their own right.

The two teams meet in the first leg of the eagerly anticipated showdown at the Etihad on Tuesday night and Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring City have drawn comparisons with Barcelona this season.

But Martino said: "I don't think City are a mini-Barcelona or a mini any team. I think they are one of the greatest teams in the world. They have great Spanish players like (Jesus) Navas and (David) Silva, but it is not only Spanish players.

"They have great players from all over the world like Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho."

Barca have won the competition three times since 2006 and have reached the semi-finals in the last six years.

And Martino admits expectation is something he and his players accept.

"For the last six seasons Barcelona have made it to the semi-finals and the fans are used to that," he said.

"It will be difficult to understand if we don't go through but it is the tightest tie of all."

His plan, he admits, is simple - keep the ball.

"The thing to do for us is to keep possession. City have a very similar game to us, maybe a bit more direct but they are very good in possession," he said. "I think the team with less possession of the ball will suffer most."

When asked what his side's 'plan B' might be should City dominate possession, he said: "Obviously to take the ball away from them.

"If we don't have the ball, it is just pointless to come to this game."

UEFA think the game is huge, Barcelona's players and manager do, I do, City do, rummours have it Sheikh Mansour may even be in attendance. Yet we must all be wrong. Some bitter Gunners and Rags can't be wrong can they? Don't worry though lads, the sparkly new FFP rules made up by the elite to protect the elite will soon ensure that all this bitter drivek will soon stop. Hey, according to some financial experts it may even prevent Manchester united from investing the required cash to get back into the top 4. How funny. Gunners, learn your history before spouting off about unfairness, you shouldn't even be in the top flight, at least earned their promotion. Enjoy the game tonight lads, it obviously means a lot to you. I know I will, off out for some pre match cerveza's hopefully see a few Catalan's out and about. Games like this are what I as a city fans of 25+ years has been dreaming of. SSN is showing highlights of 15 years ago today, we beat Macclesfield 2-0. SSN are showing the Goat's goal. Can any fellow blues name the lads celebrating with him? Clue, first names, Kevin, Richard and Gareth...
- chickenlambmix

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